Suō no Naishi

Suō no Naishi (周防内侍, dates unknown, but probably died around 1110; given name Taira no Nakako) was a Japanese waka poet of the late-Heian period. One of her poems was included in the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, and thirty-five in imperial collections. She also produced a private waka collection, the Suō no Naishi-shū.

Court Handmaid Suō (周防内侍, Suō no Naishi), from the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu.


The daughter of Taira no Munenaka (平棟仲), the governor of Suō Province, her date of birth is unknown.[1][2][3] Her given name was Nakako (仲子).[1][2][3]

She served as handmaiden (内侍, naishi) in the courts of four emperors, Go-Reizei, Go-Sanjō, Shirakawa and Horikawa.[1][2][3]

In 1108, she took ordination as a Buddhist nun due to illness.

The date of her death is unknown,[1][3] but she probably died around 1110.[2]


Thirty-five of her poems were included in imperial anthologies from the Goshūi Wakashū on.[1][2]

The following poem by her was included as No. 67 in Fujiwara no Teika's Ogura Hyakunin Isshu:

Japanese text[4] Romanized Japanese[5] English translation[6]
Haru no yo no
yume bakari naru
ta-makura ni
kai naku tatan
na koso oshikere
I would be sorry
to lose my good name
for laying my head
upon your arm
offered as a pillow
for a moment fleeting
as a spring night's dream.

She left a private collection, the Suō no Naishi-shū (周防内侍集).


  1. ^ a b c d e McMillan 2010 : 144 (note 67).
  2. ^ a b c d e Digital Daijisen entry "Suō no Naishi". Shogakukan.
  3. ^ a b c d Daijirin entry "Fujiwara no Atsuyori". Sanseidō.
  4. ^ Suzuki et al. 2009 : 86.
  5. ^ McMillan 2010 : 168.
  6. ^ McMillan 2010 : 69.


  • McMillan, Peter. 2010 (1st ed. 2008). One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Suzuki Hideo, Yamaguchi Shin'ichi, Yoda Yasushi. 2009 (1st ed. 1997). Genshoku: Ogura Hyakunin Isshu. Tokyo: Bun'eidō.

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